Nasia Nasim, B. Optometry

Student, NSHM Knowledge Campus, Kolkata, India


Eyes are the most important organ of our body with which we see this beautiful world. What if we cannot see? Then our lives will become dark. Now-a-days, eye diseases are increasing due to increasing pollution, changing food habits and people are careless about eye care. So, let us know about some diseases of eyes which can lead to blindness also, if not detected early.

(i) Cataract- Cataract is a condition in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy thus hampering the clear vision. When cataracts mature, it can lead to blindness. Cataracts can occur at any age, mainly in old age, because of a variety of causes. Smoking is an established risk factor for cataract(1) . About 20 million people in the world are blind due to cataract.

(ii) Glaucoma- Glaucoma is a group of diseases which can lead to blindness. It mainly occurs due to increased pressure of the eye(IOP-Intraocular pressure)  which causes damage to the optic nerve. In India nearly 12 million are affected by glaucoma and nearly 1.2 million people are blind from this disease(2).

(iii) Conjunctivitis- Also known as “Pink Eye”,  is the inflammation or infection of the outer membrane of the eyeball and the inner eyelid. It is a very common eye problem and affects all age groups, mainly children. It is contagious and usually bilateral. Common symptoms include redness of eyes, lots of discharge, etc.(3).

(iv) Dry Eyes- Also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca.  It is a condition when our eyes do not make enough tears to stay wet. Common symptoms may include foreign body sensation, burning sensation, and photophobia. It mainly occurs in old age. But now-a-days it becomes common in young children also due to excessive use of smartphones(4).

(v) Refractive Errors- Refractive errors are the most frequent eye problems. Refractive errors include myopia (near-sightedness), hypermetropia (farsightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia (physiological  loss of ability to see near objects).These eye conditions can be helped with eyeglasses, contacts or surgery prescribed by eye doctors.

How can eye care professionals assist you to avoid these conditions?

  1. Regular eye check: Some diseases are asymptomatic and when symptoms appear, by then it is too late (like, closed angle glaucoma). (5) So, visit eye care professionals on a regular interval. They will assist you and do the needed tests so that diseases can be detected early, and treatment can be done without any serious vision loss.(6)
  2. Consult an eye care specialist about protective eyewear, sportswear and proper way to use contact lenses.
  3. Eye care professionals prescribe specific drops or medicines for treating many diseases like dry eye, conjunctivitis, etc.
  4. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables as they are essential for maintaining good eye health.
  5. Avoid prolonged screen timing. Use 20-20-20 rule.(7)

Take home message:

Now we understand that there are many diseases which can hamper our clear vision. By protecting our eyesight, we can reduce the odds of blindness. One should visit an eye specialist once a year and if there is a problem with your eyes then visit sooner. Your eye care professional will diagnose you and give you proper eyewear, medications and, if needed, perform surgery, and let you see your best.



  1. Sannapaneni Krishnaiah; Kovai Vilas; Bindiganavale R. Shamanna, et al. Smoking and Its Association with Cataract: Results of the Andhra Pradesh Eye Disease Study from India: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science January 2005, Vol.46, 58-65.
  2. Panda, S. (2023) Glaucoma Week 2023: 90 percent of cases are undiagnosed in India, The Financial Express. [Available at:,detection%20and%20treatment%20of%20glaucoma. (Accessed: 10 May 2023)].
  3. Azari AA, Barney NP(2013). Conjunctivitis: A systematic review of diagnosis and treatment. JAMA.;310(16):1721–9
  4. The Logical Indian, T.L.I. (2017) Excessive use of smartphones can cause dry eye syndrome, know about it, [Available at: (Accessed: 10 May 2023)]
  5. Mayo Clinic Staff (2022) Glaucoma, Mayo Clinic. [Available at: (Accessed: 13 May 2023)].
  6. HexaHealth care team, H.C.T. (2022) Regular eye checkup: Importance, what to expect and benefits, HexaHealth. [Available at: (Accessed: 11 May 2023)].
  7. Crna, R. N. M. (2023, February 16). Does the 20-20-20 rule prevent eye strain?,remember%20to%20take%20frequent%20breaks(Accessed: July 27, 2022)